Tuesday, 21 June 2011

NON Interview - Back to Mono

Ex-head of the church of satan, friend of Charles Manson, mentor of Marilyn Manson, descendant of Jesus Christ, social darwinist, neo-pagan, founder of noise core, electronic pioneer; Boyd Rice’s CV is as impressive as it is controversial.

Since the mid 70’s he has produced some of the most challenging and original recorded music in history. The sheer emotion, untamed structure and raw, uncompromising sounds are made all the more intriguing by the accompaniment of fascistic imagery and occultist aesthetics.

NON is perhaps his most famous music project. NON’s last record, ‘Children of the black sun’ was released on Mute records in 2002 and tended toward the dark ambient sound of his other projects. The next record ‘Back to mono’ is a return to the abrasive noise of his early years and is to be released this Summer. I caught up with Boyd at the recent Short circuit festival in Camden to find out what we can expect from this most eccentric and enigmatic of performers in the future.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Short Circuit Festival Review

Essex boys, Niitzer Ebb are one of the first bands to play on the Friday, but they easily fill the larger venue with loyal fans, eager for their shouty brand of industrial punk. The sheer scale of the room, combined with the bombardment of communist imagery on the monitors brings to mind the political rallies of last century rather than a popular music concert. Though they and their fans have aged, their music remains vital and fizzing with the energy of youth.

Balanescu Quartet perform in the smaller room offering a more ambient alternative to Nitzer Ebb’s ferocious industrial noise, upstairs. The emotive pitch of a string quartet lends itself perfectly to the hypnotic melodies of Kraftwerk. The audience is transfixed and left unable to listen to Krautrock in the same way again.

Throbbing gristle’s own Chris and Cosey are next in the small venue. The room is packed and remains so for the rest of the evening. At this point anyone who goes to take a piss, risks missing both Chris and Cosey and NON. The couple break out some of their classic electronica; mesmerising bass grooves and synth melodies interspersed with sheer noise and finally ending with a rather boring dub jam.

The wolfsangel flashes on a huge screen accompanied by wailing sirens and blinding spotlights circling the venue as though during an air raid. It seems as though bombs will go off any second. Then one does as Boyd Rice marches onto the stage, the screen vomits a rapid succession of over-exposed shots of swastikas from obscure angles. Boyd is dressed entirely in black with a peaked cap, aviators and arms quivering from decades of hedonism. From this grand and theatrical introduction, one may expect the kind of powerful oration associated with Oswald Mosley, instead we hear a friendly and somewhat timid voice speaking calmly between the ferocious screams of “Total War” and “OUT OUT OUT!”

German fans scream their devoted adoration as Boyd breaks out a converted electric drill, and after calling on a well equipped member of the audience for repairs, uses it to brutally torture an electric bass guitar.

Though the Short circuit festival boasted a legendary lineup, it was let down by the limited capacity of the smaller venue in which many of the greatest acts were performing. Those who were lucky enough to get into the smaller venue were treated to seeing the old gods of electronica and noise in an intimate and crowded space, those who did not, had to make do with Moby.

Published: I-D Online, June, 2011